Monday, May 19, 2014

Chapter 1 Shawna's Story

Chapter 1

     “I Shawna Elizabeth Bradley being of sound mind and slightly pudgy body, do solemnly swear to marry David Bencivenne and spend the rest of my life with a man whose last name I can barely pronounce let alone spell.” Shawna shifts her gaze from the image of her veiled face in the mirror and laces her fingers together to stop the trembling. Taking a cleansing breath she squeezes her eyes shut. A wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of a woman’s life. But not even the beautiful Vera Wang ball gown she managed to snag right off the rack could lift her spirits. She feels as if she’s preparing to march towards her executioner rather than towards a bright future with the love of her life.

 Reading dread in her expression Sugah, Shawna’s assistant for the past six months and the only person she asked to stay with her while she prepares clears his throat and with a thick Southern drawl announces, “Girl, you are doing this thing back ass-ward.” He’s sitting in a corner chair near the window that overlooks the front entrance filing his nails. He looks handsome in his grey double breasted three piece suit. Usually more accustomed to flamboyance, in his words he decided to play it straight for her special day. He said that he didn’t want to steal the spotlight from the bride. “I mean honestly doll, marrying a man simply because you’re the last of your friends to tie the knot is just asinine.”

“Look Sugah, I’ve heard it all before. This union is bigger than love. I have friends and family that love me. This is about….” Sugah raises his hand to halt her mantra.

“First of all those are not the marriage vows. You’re about to get married and your quoting the oath to join the army.” Shawna rolls her eyes. “Secondly, you are not pudgy. Haven’t you heard? Real women have curves. And lastly, you’ve told me about your convoluted plans a thousand times.” Sugah clears his throat and speaking in falsetto begins to imitate Shawna. “I am the only one of my friends who isn’t married with children. David is a viable candidate for a husband and father. He comes from a good family, he’s a nice guy and he’s handsome enough.” Sugah stands and places his hands on his hips. “Oh yeah and let’s not forget your most important reason for taking vows, old eggs. What the hell does that mean? You’re only twenty-nine are you already menopausal?”  Shawna shakes her head. Her clock started ticking when her brother’s wife Leila gave birth to the two most beautiful babies Shawna has ever seen. Before holding those tiny babies she hadn’t given much thought to having children. Like love and romance, having a family is something she believed was out of the question for her. That ship sailed a long time ago. But those twins, Shawna sighs. Her heart warms just thinking of little Tucker William Bradley the forth and Tempest Leila Bradley. Their birth opened something in her heart that she’d long since forgotten, the love that fills you when holding a newborn. Holding her niece and nephew was a much more joyous occasion than the time she first held a newborn. Nevertheless, just being near them sends her ovaries into overdrive. Pointedly ignoring Sugah she slips on the Jimmy Choo wedding heels her sister-in-law Leila gave her as her something new. Nothing like crystals and suede to give a woman strength.

“Okay, I’m ready to do this,” she says with resolve.

“Alright,” Sugah says.

“Alright,” Shawna repeats gulping down air. Sugah moves to the door and waits for Shawna to join him. When he turns to face her she hasn’t moved and she’s as white as a sheet. Sugah sighs heavily and rushes to her side.

“Baby girl, the one thing you’re forgetting about is love. You don’t have to do this. If you want a child why don’t you go to the bank and buy sperm like the other rich single women?” Shawna shivers, her heart is pounding so hard that all outside noises are blocked out.

“I don’t want some random man fathering my child.” She taps her legs in an attempt to get them to move. Sugah takes her hand when she sways as if she might faint.

“That’s it. I’m going to get the girls.” He fans himself with his hand. “I am your assistant and your friend but not your shrink honey. You need women folk to talk you off the ledge.” He turns to leave but she takes his hand. She’s starting to sweat even though the expansive room above the church is cool.

“Please, just give me a minute. I can do this,” she says taking a tentative step towards the door. When she reaches the door her breathing becomes labored.  Sugah holds her up when her body begins to tilt precariously.

“Shawna,” he scolds. Her head snaps towards his. She stares at him through glazed unfocused eyes. He removes a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and wipes her damp forehead. Shawna takes a deep breath and then without another word she dashes for the door. She sprints down the stairs and through the hall past the ushers escorting her guests to their seats. She runs past her wedding party ignoring the gasps and calls. With Sugah close on her heels she sprints through the church door and climbs into the limo that was supposed to take her to the airport with her new husband. Sugah climbs in just as she yells drive to the chauffer. She buries her face in her lap and covers her ears to block out the protests of family members banging on the windows.

After a few minutes Sugah squeezes her shoulder. “So what’s the plan love bug?” Shawna shudders feeling as if a vice is tightening around her head. “Are we going to drive into the sunset like Thelma and Louise? Because I’ll tell you if I’m about to go out in a blaze of glory I’d rather not be dressed in this monkey suit. No, I’d rather make my departure from this great land in a floor length Prada gown,” he says sweeping his arm across the limo with exaggerated flourish. So if we’re going to end it all the very least you can do is trade clothes with me.” Shawna laughs in spite of herself and turns to face her friend.

“That poor man,” Shawna says. “I can’t believe I just left him at the altar. I should have at least been woman enough to tell him I couldn’t go through with it. “Oh God and my parents, they were so excited about one of their children having a traditional wedding since Tucker and Leila eloped.” Sugah squeezes her shoulder again.

“But what about you, sugar dumpling? You can’t get married to please your parents or to please a man that you don’t love, might I add. You have to get married because you’re so in love that you can’t imagine your life without the other person.”

“I wanted to do it this way. I don’t ever want to risk being so deeply in love that I make emotional decisions. I’ve been there once and it was the worst mistake of my life. No, a marriage of convenience will suit me just fine.”

Sugah scoffs, “If convenience is what you want then why are we barreling down the 101 Freeway? If you aren’t interested in lasting love let’s turn around. You can tell them you forgot something at your house and then proceed to marry the little weasel.” Although he’d promised to keep his opinions to himself Sugah has made no secret of his disdain for David. He insists that any man that would ask a woman he barely knows to marry him is up to something. Shawna assured him that she had an airtight prenuptial agreement, but Sugah was never really convinced.

“He was probably planning to off you for your money. After which I would have to kill him and I’m much too pretty to go to jail so you just saved both our lives by running out of that church today. Thank you honey lumps,” Sugah says and Shawna laughs again. Shawna rests her head on his shoulder.

“Can’t you just marry me?”

He kisses the top of her head. “Oh pumpkin, if that worked for me I’d me the luckiest man in the world.” They drive in silence for a few minutes until the driver speaks through the intercom.

“Where are we headed ma’am?”

“Please just stay on the 101 for a while,” Shawna replies.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shawna and Tucker's Stories

Hey Everybody,

I am attempting what some writers might consider impossible. I am working on Shawna's and Tucker's stories simultaneously. It's going well so far, but at some point I'm assuming one or the other books will take precedents. I will keep you all posted on my progress. Wish me luck!